by Tanika Wilson
Get ready for more. Just when you thought flu season was over, it turns out it’s not.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza activity continues to be high in the United States and is projected to stay that way in the upcoming weeks. While most cases of the flu are reported between December to February, the CDC reports flu season can last until late May.
So timing may be unpredictable. But it seems location is less so.
DeEtte Edens, associate director of Health & Wellness at South Plains College, says there were reported flu cases at the SPC Levelland Wellness Center before the Christmas break. Now, she says flu activity is high in surrounding communities, and students are back in school.
During the second week of classes at SPC, Edens says there were two additional cases for the spring semester, with four more cases having been reported as of Feb. 5.
Edens says a different strain of the flu virus is showing up this semester. She says type B of the flu was prevalent in December, but community clinics and hospitals are now seeing mainly flu A. With both types being reported, she says this means for another round of the flu season is occurring.
If you are not already experiencing any symptoms of the flu, getting vaccinated with a flu shot is one of the ways you can fight it off. Edens says that you need to be reasonably healthy and NOT already sick when you get the shot.
Edens says there are lots of flu shots still available at the Levelland SPC Wellness Center. The shots are free for all students. Students do not need to book an appointment to get vaccinated, but Edens suggests arriving in the morning to avoid those with appointments in the afternoon.
On the Levelland campus, students can visit the Student Health Clinic in the Wellness Center, which is open Monday through Friday. Suggested times to stop by are from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“It is still an active flu season,” Edens says. “I encourage everybody to still consider getting a flu shot. Remember to practice good handwashing, get plenty of rest, increase water intake, maintain a healthy diet and avoid being around others who are sick.”
According to Texasflu.org, covering coughs and sneezes, staying home from school or work if you are feeling ill, and cleaning common surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, and keyboards can also prevent the spreading of the flu. Additional everyday prevention tips are made available on at https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/school/students-institutions-higher-education.html